Review: “Star-Crossed Lover” by Liv Olteano

TITLE: Star-Crossed Lover
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
SERIES: Dreamcatchers
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 7, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Dreamcatchers Tale
A love worth crossing the stars for.
Taka has been a dreamcatcher and part of Team 32 for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like Ginger—a dancer at club Zee. Too bad dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. His willpower proves a finite resource, though, when a mission at the club means spending much more time around Ginger.
Ginger’s infatuation with Taka is unwavering. When he proves to have some paranormal skills of his own, he earns himself a place on the team—if he wants it. His decision will change his life—not to mention Taka’s—irrevocably.
But living in the now could prove an issue for a man who has as much history as Taka. Can Ginger’s determination help him make his way into Taka’s heart?


Star-Crossed Lover is the second book in the Dreamcatchers series and the twenty-fifth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series by Liv Olteano.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Liv Olteano, and it was okay. I liked the characters, but the plot was a little confusing and messy. And it might have been that I was just missing what had happened in the first book and some of the background details that might have been explained but another of the OptimuMM reviewers reviewed the first book in the series and also had a problem with the plot being confusing and messy. So it just might be the author’s writing style. The plot was good though. I did like the storyline, and I do want to find out what happens next, so I’m going to read the next book when it comes out. My favorite parts of the book were when Taka and Ginger were interacting and when it was explained how they were star-crossed lovers. I kind of wish that they had explained more about their past lives’ struggles and what kept them apart until now. The editing of the book could have been better, but as it was an ARC copy, I’m hoping that they got caught and fixed.

Taka has been part of Team 32 and a dreamcatcher for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like the dancer at club Zee. It’s too bad that dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. But that doesn’t stop him from going to the club on his downtime and watching Ginger. His willpower will be put to the test, though, when a mission at the club means spending a lot of time around Ginger. I liked Taka. He was strong, courageous, and protective.

I liked Ginger more than Taka. Taka maybe older than Ginger but it’s Ginger that ends up taking the lead in their relationship, which just confuses Taka because he thinks he should be the more experienced one in the relationship since he’s older. I also liked how unwavering Ginger’s infatuation for Taka is. He’s been flirting with him since he started working for the club about a year ago. When it comes to light that Ginger is from a line of witches and that he would be a good candidate for being a dreamcatcher, I was so excited for Taka since he can now follow his desires and date Ginger.

I also liked how they go on missions and fight the spagas (demons) who suck the lifeforce out of their victims while they are sleeping.
At the end of the book was an exclusive excerpt for the next book in the series Lover Behind Enemy Lines which is going to be about Claw and their captive Nathan Gallagher. I can’t wait to read it.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Living Promises” by Amy Lane

TITLE: Living Promises
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
SERIES: Keeping Promise Rock Series
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 350 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jul 04, 2011
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $17.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Six years ago, Jeff Beachum comforted a frightened teenager outside an HIV treatment clinic, and Collin Waters has remembered his kindness ever since. Now, after six years of crushing on the kind, brown-eyed sweetheart of his dreams, Collin is feeling adult and together enough to make his move. Too bad fate, which has never been kind to Jeff, has something else in mind.
Jeff’s life had fallen completely apart before that long-ago day, and it isn’t much better now. Jeff has toughened up, become self-reliant, been the funny guy his friends turn to, the one who gives advice and comfort when needed. But every phantom from Jeff’s past is about to come out to haunt him, and the family Jeff has staked his future on isn’t in such great shape either. Collin is more than a starry-eyed kid, and it’s a good thing, because Jeff’s going to need all the help he can get. No one knows better than Jeff that life can be too short to turn your back on honest love, and that living happily is the best promise of all.


As you know already, with the approval of Dreamspinner Press, we’re reviewing previously published books. We continue with Amy Lane‘s, Keeping Promise Rock contemporary romance series.
I love this series but this book …

This sequel of the series was not as good as I was hoping for. I loved Jeff from the very first moment we met him as Crick’s PA. He charmed me with his outgoing behavior, sassy attitude and strong personality.
But this book turned him into a “woman”. Without disrespecting the author or the series, this story turns out to be a false-stereotyping bottom=girl-in-the-relationship type of tail. From the strong personality, he becomes a sobbing, quivering damsel in distress. Maybe the author did it unconsciously, but as I read it, it annoyed me to hell.

Collin is 13 years younger and has a bad boy attitude. He’s had a 5-year crush on Jeff and when the opportunity comes he, finally, makes a move.

Jeff can’t get past the age difference, but in the end, he leans on Collin. Right. And this…!

I don’t know, maybe its just me being a man, maybe having the man-pride myself, but that doesn’t bode well with me. An over 37-year-old leaning on a 24-year-old boy, just not ok in my book. Jeff is strong, we all know that we all need a shoulder from time to time, but for a 24-year-old to have more manliness in him than a 37-year-old grown man who takes care of all his friends…well, that is a lack in his character. This wasn’t a first time when I read a series where a personality change happens to a character. For me, it’s just kind of ruins the book, if not the whole series.

Toward the end of the book, the story was repetitive. We read again and again about previous MC’s of the series. There are a lot of health issues going around. It seems that everyone gets sick at the same time. It was a bit depressing.

As much as I loved the previous books, this felt stretched.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Speed Dating the Boss” by Sue Brown

TITLE: Speed Dating the Boss
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
SERIES: Cowboys and Angels
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jun 26, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Will a mix of privilege and blue collar be a recipe for love… or disaster?
Dan’s pretty satisfied with his job at the working-class bar Cowboys and Angels. He enjoys his simple life, his apartment, and his cat, but he could do without the fights that break out in the bar, his boss’s meddling daughter, Ariel… oh, and a brutal, unrequited crush on his straight alpha boss, Gideon.
When Dan’s friend prepares to tie the knot, everyone insists that Dan needs a date for the wedding. Before he can protest, Ariel arranges a gay speed-dating event at the bar with Gideon as a participant. The unforeseen revelation that Gideon is bisexual raises Dan’s hopes, especially when Gideon announces that he wants to accompany Dan to the wedding. Could Gideon really be interested in Dan?
When Dan needs someone most, Gideon offers his unconditional support, and with genuine commitment, he shows Dan the kind of man he really is. Teaming up to save the wedding from a hungover groom and intolerant parents, can Gideon convince Dan they’re the best match since beer and pizza?


Dan is a barman at Cowboys and Angels. He’s satisfied with his job even with the fights that break out in the bar, mostly because of Ariel, his boss’ daughter. Dan has a huge crush on his very straight boss Gideon, so his life could have been perfect if his feelings were shared, but he’s realistic and deals with it… Most of the time.

When Marty, his best friend, announces his wedding and asks Dan to be his best man. Dan is ready to go alone at the wedding, but Ariel decides otherwise and makes it her mission to find him the perfect date during a speed dating. That would have been a good idea until Gideon stepped in, and he revealed his bisexuality and tells Dan that he wants to accompany him to the wedding.
There’s a difference between fantasizing about his straight boss and having hope that something can happen.
Maybe this time Dan will have all his dreams coming true!

Speed Dating the Boss is book one of Cowboys and Angels series.
I was perplexed about this book. The blurb appealed to me. I found it interesting and was curious.
The book starts a little bit slow, but it didn’t bother me. The author takes her time to explain the background of the story, and I was fine with that.

Dan has been a barman at Cowboys and Angels for five years, he loves his job, and he’s good at it. He also takes classes in business management with the dream of owning his own bar. He’s smart, proud and strong; he knows how to deal with a bar full of drunk men ready to fight. I liked Dan even if he can be clueless about other people; he’s a good guy with a simple dream and aspires to a good life.
Gideon is the owner of Cowboys and Angels among other business. He’s a widow, he lost his wife and younger son in a carjacking, and he’s solely focused and devoted to his daughter. He’s a gentleman and a caring man. Gideon upset me. I expected an alpha man, and he wasn’t like that. His daughter is awful, a pure queen B…and the guy didn’t say a word, and he hides behind Dan to stop her. The only moment when he really did something…it was too late. I was disappointed by his character at first, but at the end, he won my sympathy when he starts to really act and show his intentions toward Dan, then I was team Gideon all the way.

The plot was good, even If I had the feeling that sometimes it was confusing. The chemistry between the characters wasn’t well developed, the angst was a little bit too much, and sometimes there were some little inconsistencies in the story, not too much, but enough to be seen.

But, even with all the little imperfections, it was a good book with a lot of potential. I will read the next book in this series when it comes out.

3 OptimuMMs for the barman and his cowboy

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ned” by Catherine Lievens

TITLE: Ned
AUTHOR: Catherine Lievens
SERIES: Wyoming Shifters
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 162 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 19, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Sometimes the best thing in your life is the result of the worst thing that happened to you.
Ned is fleeing New York—and Paris, one of his one-night stands who can’t take no for an answer. He goes back home to Gillham, hoping Paris won’t find him, but not really believing it. The last thing he expected was to meet his mate. He’s only twenty-two, and he has a stalker. What is he going to do with a mate?
Luke didn’t think he had a mate until he met Ned. He was created in a petri dish and raised as a killer until the pack rescued him when he was seven, and he is neither human nor shifter. To add to his weirdness, he’s a virgin, and he’s not interested in sex.
Ned keeps Luke at arm’s length, especially after Paris manages to find him and threatens his best friend, Amy. It gets harder and harder to stay away from Luke, though, and Ned is torn between the need to be with his mate and the need to keep Luke safe.
Will Ned be able to find a compromise? Will Paris be stopped in time, or will he manage to separate Ned and Luke before they even get a chance to be together?


Ned is the second book in the Wyoming Shifters: 12 Years Later series by Catherine Lievens. I wanted to like this book because the blurb sounded good but unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the blurb or the first book in the series.

I was excited that Luke was one of the created paranormals that was rescued by the pack and is now living in Gillham and that he’s asexual and trying to figure out what to do with his life now that he isn’t an assassin anymore. I thought pairing him up with a promiscuous 22-year-old human mate would be interesting. However, it just didn’t work out.

Ned’s trying to escape a stalker, Paris, and returns home only to run into Luke and be told that he’s his mate. Ned isn’t interested in a mate and initially rejects Luke. But the mating bond keeps working its magic, and they eventually start trying to have a relationship. Yeah, that doesn’t work out too well for them. They both have a lot of self-doubt and self-esteem issues which they have to get over.
I also thought it was a missed opportunity that the author doesn’t use any of Luke’s talents or abilities that he was bred and trained for to help with the stalker issue that Ned has and Ned is unwilling to involve Luke in his problems. But isn’t that what mates are for to help each other when they have problems? I felt this was a missed opportunity and the book, unfortunately, revolves mostly around their internal insecurities.

There is also the problem of how the author deals with putting an asexual person with a promiscuous person. I had a hard time believing that a 22-year-old who’s used to having lots of sex would be okay with only having sex once in a while or not at all. I did like that Luke was willing to explore his sexuality to find out where he is on the asexual scale. Instead of just refusing to do anything sexual because he didn’t have a normal sex drive. So I did like that part of the book even if it was hard to believe that Ned would be okay with limited amounts of sex to fulfill his needs.

There were other parts of the book that made me go awe and had some cute scenes, but it just wasn’t as good as the first book.

***The ARC was provided by eXtasy Books. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Dead Weight” by Pandora Pine

TITLE: Dead Weight
AUTHOR: Pandora Pine
SERIES: Cold Case Psychic
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: The Killion Group
GENRE: Paranormal ; Mystery / Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 e-book

BLURB:

Cold Case Detective, Ronan O’Mara, is looking forward to starting a new life in his new home, but when a strange house warming gift appears on his doorstep, he has no idea that it marks the start of a series of events that will put his life, and the lives of everyone close to him in danger. When murders similar to those committed by dead serial killer, Rod Jacobson, start occurring around Boston, Ronan is certain he has a copycat killer on his hands.
Psychic, Tennyson Grimm, is approached by friends for help dealing with issues surrounding their son. He quickly realizes there is more going with the boy than teenaged angst. Though he doesn’t want to believe it, his psychic abilities and a series of strange paranormal occurrences point to a link between the troubled teen and the murder victims that are turning up all over Boston.
When Ronan is attacked during the investigation, it’s up to Tennyson and Captain Fitzgibbon to find the killer without him. Will they be able to stop the murderer before the evil that surrounds him destroys them all?


Dead Weights is the fourth book of the Cold Case Psychic series.
Tennyson and Ronan are newly engaged and start their new life together by moving into their new house.
Everything is going great for them. Tennyson has his powers back, Ronan and he are more in tune and in love more than ever, and they don’t have a traumatic case…for now.
But nothing can stay like that, and Tennyson has gotten new visions of murders, young men murders, like with the Rob Jacobson case, but it can’t be him, since he’s dead.
So who’s impersonating this serial killer?

This book is, in my opinion, the one that gives me the most feelings.
Tennyson and Ronan are my guys, and I loved to see them having their happy life, in their new house next to Carson and Truman. It was good, like being on vacation, after all the ups and downs we read in the 3 previous books. But of course, the author couldn’t let us be happy and in peace, nooooo, she had to make us suffer, a little bit. That’s when everything went to hell at least for me.

The case is very specific, and what we’re used to reading about the crimes and the hunt for the killer is different in this book. It was a risk, and so far, it was a good risk. This book is more cryptic I’ll say, with a little bit of religion, but it was coherent with this particular case and killer. I almost had a heart attack in the middle of the book, there’s a twist that I didn’t see coming, and it put my blood pressure very high. I can say that I was on a rollercoaster of emotions.
I liked it. It was good to be out of my comfort zone with the guys, to have to deal with new situations and not a simple plot. It wasn’t black or white this time, and like I said, I was completely hooked on the story and loving it a lot…

But the end, kind of ruined the book for me.

I don’t want to spoil the book, but I’ll try to explain it. The final scene, just before the epilogue, bothered me. In my opinion, the scene wasn’t well written, and the author missed something in it. It wasn’t that the scene doesn’t make sense, because, in this tricky situation, with this particular character, I understand why the author does that, I’m okay with the motivation, I’m not okay with how it was done. It was like everyone abandoned this character and gave him the green light, like an encouragement. It really bothered me, and kind of ruined the book for me. It pissed me off a little bit because right after this scene, the epilogue comes…and it was a beautiful epilogue (I was totally crushed, crying like a baby with big fat tears), with a lot of answers and explanations. That’s why I think this last scene wasn’t well written because maybe, if I had some of explanations that were in the epilogue in this scene, it would have given me another feeling.

That’s why I put 3 OptimuMMs for this book. But don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep reading this series, I still love it a lot, and it’s not because this book leaves me with a bittersweet aftertaste that I don’t want to follow the series anymore. That’s what happens with a series, we all have a favorite and less favorite. This is one is my less favorite.

3 OptimuMMs for me.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis